New airport aides check in to assist passengers

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MEET Edinburgh Airport’s latest arrivals – two blonde, multi-lingual holograms that will speed up boarding times and help passengers navigate security.

Designed specifically for the city transport hub, the virtual assistants will help waiting passengers in English, Polish, Spanish and Italian.

They will even use props to describe what can be taken on to flights, with audio-visual technology creating the illusion of there being a real person standing in the terminal.

The holograms, built by Tensator, are available for 24 hours per day, are unpaid and will never tire or go on strike.

With record numbers of passengers at the airport, bosses have been attempting to find a way to speed up security check-in times and make restrictions on liquids easier to understand.

Ajay Joshi, Tensator’s media product development manager, said: “We have worked closely with Edinburgh Airport to ensure that the functionality of our system meets its requirements exactly, from script writing to choosing a Scottish actress to best represent the airport.

“This installation really demonstrates the flexibility of our virtual assistants.

“Messages and even languages can be altered with ease in order to deliver the right information to the specific passenger audience that is passing through the terminal at any particular point in time.”

He added: “From our experience in this field, we are confident that this installation will provide the client with the same great benefits and improved operational efficiencies that we have seen enjoyed elsewhere.”

Edinburgh Airport was Scotland’s busiest in August, with a three per cent rise taking passenger numbers close to the one million mark.

BAA said the three main airports north of the Border had a 4.4 per cent rise in passenger numbers compared with a 0.2 per cent rise for its UK airports as a whole.

Heathrow was the UK’s most popular airport, reporting six-and-a-half million travellers.

It is hoped that the fluency of the new holograms will help to welcome passengers from European countries, with the most popular including Poland, Spain and Italy.

Edinburgh Airport managing director Jim O’Sullivan said: “Passenger experience is central to everything we do here at Edinburgh Airport and we’re excited by these new additions to the team.

“We know that the more prepared passengers are, the quicker their time at security.

“The virtual assistants are an innovative and creative approach in assisting our passengers to be ready.”